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What’s the Difference Between a Spec and Custom Home?

If you’ve decided to build a new home, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to opt for a spec or custom home build. While each type of build offers a range of benefits, it’s likely that one option will be a more suitable fit for what you’re after.

To help you work out which is the better option for you, here’s an overview of the key differences between a spec and custom home.

Spec homes

Spec homes are newly built homes which are usually sold to the buyer after it’s built, or when construction is nearly complete.

The land for a spec home is usually purchased by the builder who builds the home with a view to selling it to make a profit. The builder will select a home design that’s likely to appeal to a wide market of prospective buyers and may use the same design for multiple builds.

In most cases, the homebuyer has little to no input into the overall design of the home. On occasion, the builder may allow the buyer to make some changes to the finishes and design of the home if the property is purchased in the early construction phase, however these are usually only minimal to keep costs down and ensure the build runs to schedule.

Custom homes

Custom homes are built following a unique set of plans which are developed specifically for an individual homeowner. The plans are developed by an architect or building designer who has been commissioned by the homeowner to design the home to their exact specifications.

During a custom home build, the homeowner will work with the architect to develop the design concept before selecting a builder to handle construction.

The homeowner will have input into every element of the home, affording them the freedom and flexibility to create a home that is truly one-of-a-kind and perfectly tailored to their lifestyle and personal requirements.

How does each option compare?

Cost

A custom home will usually cost more than a spec home.

The aim of a spec home builder is to build and sell the home as quickly as possible to maximise profit—for this reason, they’re less likely to invest in premium materials, fittings and fixtures, but rather opt for mid-range materials and appliances with mass-market appeal that are unlikely to deter prospective buyers.

As a custom home is usually designed by the person that will live there, a lot more thought and consideration will be given to the design and construction of the home, with most homeowners wanting to incorporate a few bespoke features or premium fittings and finishes—which all come at an added expense.

Having said that, there is still scope to build a custom home that represents good value for your investment—at APC Build, we’ve developed a unique value management process which allows you to achieve the home and finish you want for a fixed price you’re comfortable with. Contact us to find out more.

Time

A spec home will almost always require less time to build. For the builder to be able to make a profit from the venture, they need to construct and sell the property quickly. This is largely why there is very little scope for customisation with a spec home, even when purchased during the early stages of the build.

Custom homes typically take longer to build. Not only does the design phase add to the project timeline (usually around 6 months depending on the home), the construction time frame can also vary significantly depending on the size and complexity of the build. While detail does take time, when you’re building your dream home, it’s almost always time well spent.

Involvement

A spec home build requires little to no involvement from the homeowner as the vast majority of design decisions are made by the builder.

For a custom build, the homeowner has more control over their level of involvement. Clients building a custom home have a vested interest in the project and generally want to be quite involved (particularly during the design phase), with many also choosing to conduct regular site visits for some extra oversight over how the build is progressing.

Fit-for-purpose

Spec homes are designed to have broad market appeal by meeting the needs of the typical buyer profile in the area. While they may be suitable for a wide range of buyers, it’s rare to find a spec home that genuinely ticks every single box on the homeowners wish list. In the case the builder or developer does allow the purchaser to make some changes to the home design, it’s likely it will be priced well above the market rate.

Custom homes however are designed specifically with the occupant in mind. From the size and floorplan to the fittings, fixtures and finishes, every element of the home is customised to suit the lifestyle and tastes of the homeowner perfectly. If you plan to stay living in the home in the longer term or want to create your ‘forever home’ or ‘dream home’, custom is the way to go.

Melbourne’s Award-Winning Custom Home Builder

At APC Build, we live and breathe custom home building.

Backed by three generations of craftsmen and with a long list of custom projects under our belt, we’re well equipped to handle every type of custom build.

We manage the entire custom design process. We pair the right architect to suit the clients brief, then work closely with both the architect and client to develop a design concept and work out how to bring it in on budget, in the shortest possible time frame.

With our transparent quotation process and unique capability to cost custom projects from an early stage, you’ll always be able to see exactly where your money is being spent, ensuring you can get the most out of your custom build.

If you’re planning to build a custom home in Melbourne, we’d love to hear from you. Contact the team at APC Build

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